by Nate "Buster" Jaros
Ordering a Tesla is pretty easy, when you get right down to it. You have the option to go into the “showroom” (which is called a Service Center by the way) and have a “representative” or "product specialist" (not sales person) help you configure and order the car. Or the second and best option in my opinion is to just go online and order.
I pulled the trigger last night on my new Tesla, and here’s what happened!
Just like we all learned in pilot training and survival school for us military guys, planning everything out for the flight makes it all go a bit smoother. If you’re like me, in the weeks and months leading up to your Tesla or EV purchase you will be online a lot studying options, colors, packages and planning for what car you might like to order. There is a lot to look at and consider.
CPO Car or Not?
One possibly option that I will talk about briefly is the Tesla CPO. CPO stands for Certified Pre-Owned, and much like all other major auto dealers you can buy a CPO Tesla. Usually these CPO cars can save you a lot of money too, depending on how many miles and what options you want on the car. Check out the Tesla website to see what’s in stock now, you can even narrow your search by color and price.
Originally I was set on getting a CPO car. I wanted to save some money and I heard that the preowned cars were not too shabby. From what I’ve heard in the community most CPO cars arrive looking pretty great. Tesla does a nice job refurbishing them. But there have been some poor examples of this as well, and people have received their CPO cars looking somewhat “ratty.” Tesla Motors Club online forum is littered with bad and painful CPO deliver tales. But I am sure that is rare.
The other disadvantages of a CPO Tesla (and why I went with a new car) was that the CPO cars come with the remainder of the eight year battery and powertrain warranty. So if your CPO car is four years old, you only have four more years on that drivetrain and battery…and a lot is still unknown on how that system will fare as the cars age. The oldest Tesla Model S on the road today is a June 2012 car…so it’s just five years old.
You do get a new “bumper to bumper” warranty with the CPO. Either a four year 50,000 mile warranty, or a two year 100,000 maximum odometer warranty…depending on the age and miles of the car at the time of delivery. So that can be good. But for a guy like me that keeps a car generally eight to ten years on average, the CPO warranty doesn’t make much sense.
Lastly, I went with a new Tesla order because the CPOs I was pricing out and looking at were nearly the cost of a new Tesla (for me). So to get a new car and eight years or battery warranty, and all the bells and whistles ordering a new car for a “few dollars more” just made more sense. That’s a great Clint Eastwood Western movie by the way!
Of note, Tesla does not build cars by model year. If a Tesla is a 2017 car, it was built in 2017, etc. Keep that in mind when shopping for a CPO. Additionally, only new cars receive a $7,500 federal tax credit.
Ordering the Car
Okay, it’s time to order. This is what I did, and I’m guessing it might be similar for a CPO car, or maybe even an inventory car.
The first thing you need to do is get a friends referral code. Mine is here if you need one. This ONLY works on new Model S and X cars and will save you $1,000 and give you unlimited free supercharging for life.
If you order after 31 October 2017, Tesla is saying that the $1,000 credit you get is going away!
Once you have that referral code, click it and it will take you the Tesla configuring page (like you’ve been to a thousand times already) called the design studio and from there it’s simple. You just build and click on the options you want until you are happy with the car. Double check everything, but if you later find out you made a mistake, or want to change your mind on some option or even the paint color you can go back and adjust it.
After you build your car and click submit, you will need to fill out some basic info, and give a credit card or Paypal for the $2,500 deposit. Once you do that you click submit and that’s it! A page like below comes up, and then you get an email confirming everything. Exciting!
Confirmation page above. Top of the Email they send you below.
Don’t worry either, if you have buyer’s remorse or want to make a change, Tesla informs you that you have three days to do so, and then your deposit and order become “locked in.” After all of this you will be taken to another Tesla page where you will need to start to upload a few necessary items. This stuff can wait, or you can do this immediately, it’s up to you.
It looks like the below photo, with your car at the top and "tasks complete" circle in red.
Telsa wants to know your address, get a copy of your drivers license and insurance information, and a few other basic items about any trade in vehicles and if you plan on leasing, paying cash, or using a loan to pay. This page (seen above) becomes your account page, and you can log back in at any time to update stuff, or I presume to get more info on the production and delivery of your car.
All in all it is pretty exciting! Not just the fact that you just ordered a seriously awesome car, but that there was no hassle, no bargaining, no back and forth with a pushy dealer…you just click and buy.
Like the car itself, this is the way of the future.